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					                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ARAB TIMES, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2011
INTERNATIONAL                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   18



                                   World News Roundup

      Thailand

  ‘Death of cameraman’

 Agency seeks
 a new inquiry
 BANGKOK, Sept 16, (RTRS):
 Thai authorities pressed for a new
 investigation on Friday into the
 death of Reuters cameraman Hiro
 Muramoto and 12 other civilians
 killed during political unrest last
 year, and said troops may have had
 a hand in the shootings.
    The statement by the Department
 of Special Investigation (DSI)
 marked a dramatic reversal from
 February when the agency’s chief
 concluded the 43-year-old Japanese
 journalist and others could not have
 been shot by soldiers.
                           Muramoto
                        was killed by a
                        high-velocity
                        bullet wound
                        to the chest
                        while covering
                        clashes
                        between “red
                        shirt” protest-
                        ers and troops
                        in Bangkok’s
                        old quarter on
     Muramoto           April 10. He
 was among 25 people, including
 soldiers, who died that night.
    Mysterious gunmen clad in black
 were seen among the red-shirted
 protesters, firing at troops.
    Witness accounts in a preliminary
 DSI investigation seen by Reuters
 in December said the fatal shot
 came from the direction of troops. A
 witness was quoted as saying he
 saw “a flash from a gun barrel of a
 soldier”, then watched Muramoto
 fall after he was shot in the chest
 while filming the security forces.       Masked protesters stand near the US Embassy during a rally marking the 20th anniversary of the Philippine Senate vote terminating the US military bases agreement in the country in Manila, Philippines,
                                          Sept 16. The protesters lamented the continued presence of US troops in the country, despite the bases’ termination, through another agreement entered into by the US and Philippine militaries known
               Issued                                                                                                   as the Visiting Forces Agreement. (AP)
    But on Feb 27, DSI Director-
 General Tharit Pengdit issued a
 new statement that contradicted the
 preliminary report, saying the bul-                                                                            Philippines
 let came from an AK-47 assault
 rifle, which did not match weapons
 used by soldiers in the area that day.
    The Bangkok Post reported that,
 before Tharit made the claim sol-
 diers were not involved, the army
                                                                                                                               Manila would continue to upgrade military capabilities
 chief of staff had paid him a visit
 “to complain about an initial
 department finding”. The DSI
 denied the report.
    It was unclear what caused the
 DSI chief to change position again
                                                                                              ‘Sea code doesn’t solve sovereignty’
 and assert soldiers may have played                                                          MANILA, Sept 16, (RTRS): The
 a role in civilian deaths — an                                                               Philippines wants claimants to disput-                             Garcia to serve a prior 2 yrs prison sentence
 extraordinarily sensitive issue in                                                           ed South China Sea islands to agree on
 Thailand where the military is                                                               a code of conduct but that would not
 extremely powerful and deeply
 politicised.
    “We want the court to be the one
                                                                                              resolve who owned and could tax the
                                                                                              sea’s mineral wealth, President
                                                                                              Benigno Aquino said.
                                                                                                                                            Ex-general rearrested for hiding assets
 who investigates this so that the                                                               His comments in an interview with          MANILA, Philippines, Sept 16,              the fight against corruption a cor-         military in 2006 for failing to dis-
 result can be accepted by all,”                                                              Reuters on Friday shows differences           (AP): A retired Philippine military        nerstone of his administration.             close all his assets, but Aquino’s
 Tharit told Reuters on Friday. “The                                                          remain between close US ally                  budget chief whose plunder                    Garcia was checked by doctors            predecessor, then-President Gloria
 DSI has insisted from the beginning                                                          Philippines and China, which has in           charges were dismissed by a civil-         then escorted by military police to         Macapagal Arroyo, failed to
 that we found soldiers may have          Myanmar democracy icon Aung San                     the past opposed multilateral discus-         ian court was rearrested by the mil-       the suburban national penitentiary          approve his imprisonment, Gazmin
 been involved in the deaths.”            Suu Kyi delivers her speech during a                sions to resolve the territorial dispute.     itary Friday to serve a prior two-         where he will serve his jail term,          said.
                Cases                     ceremony to mark the ‘International                    Aquino also said the Philippines           year prison sentence for hiding            said military spokesman Col.                   In the ensuing civilian case,
                                          Day of Democracy 2011’ at her                       would continue to upgrade its military        assets and holding a US green              Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos.                     Garcia pleaded guilty to a lesser
    Tharit said his agency would                                                                                                            card while in service.                        Corruption is an especially              charge and returned assets worth
 send on Monday the cases of the 13       National League for Democracy                       capabilities, including its capacity in
                                          party’s headquarters on Sept 15, in                 the South China Sea, but said this               Retired Maj Gen Carlos Garcia           explosive issue in the ill-equipped         135 million pesos ($3.1 million)
 civilians killed to police, which                                                                                                          became a poster boy for military           and poorly paid 126,000-strong              under the deal that secured his
 would then submit the findings to               Yangon, Myanmar. (AP)                        could not be seen as an offensive move        corruption but escaped conviction          military and has sparked several            freedom but was met with public
 prosecutors, who would bring the                                                             as the country has inadequate defence         on charges of stealing 303 million         insurrections by disgruntled troops         criticism.
 cases to Thailand’s Criminal Court                                                           facilities.                                   pesos ($7 million) when he struck a        in the last two decades.                       A congressional hearing was
 for a final investigation.                                                                      “There are a lot of claimants to the       plea bargain with civilian prosecu-           Allegations of Garcia’s illicit          held during which Garcia’s former
    “We welcome this development                                                              disputed areas, so for it (a code of con-     tors in May.                               assets emerged in 2003 when US              colleague testified that at least
 and have always wanted to see this                                                           duct) to be binding, it has to be on a           Philippine Defense Secretary            Customs informed the Philippines            three retired chiefs of staff also
 case fully investigated in a trans-                                                          multilateral basis,” Aquino, wearing          Voltaire Gazmin told a news con-           that his sons had been caught try-          pocketed huge amounts that were
 parent manner. Muramoto-san’s                                                                the Filipino’s traditional “barong”           ference that military police picked        ing to enter the United States with         earmarked for troop salaries, intel-
 family and Reuters colleagues                                                                shirt, said at Malacanang presidential        up Garcia from his house in the            $100,000 in undeclared funds,               ligence and a military hospital. One
 deserve to know how this tragedy                                                             palace in the old part of Manila.             capital and brought him to military        some of it stashed in their lug-            of those implicated, Gen Angelo
 occurred and who was behind it,”                                                                China, Taiwan and four Southeast           detention on orders of President           gage.                                       Reyes, denied the allegation then
 Stephen Adler, editor-in-chief of                                                            Asian states, including the Philippines,      Benigno Aquino III, who has made              Garcia was sentenced by the              committed suicide.
 Reuters News, said in a statement.                                                           have conflicting claims over features
    One crucial difference between                                                            and waters in the South China Sea,            including accusations of intrusions into   ing and has no enforcement mecha-           from these royalties?,” he said.
 now and February is a change of                 Najib                 Thaksin                which is believed to sit on huge
                                                                                              deposits of oil and natural gas.              Philippine territory nine times and fir-   nism.                                          “If sovereignty is not resolved, then
 government and the rise of political                                                                                                       ing of shots at fishermen.                    There have been proposals for joint      the question of where the royalties
 leaders with ties to the red-shirt                                                              China’s preference is for bilateral
                                                                                                                                               During a visit to China in late         development of resources in contested       should go to will not also be resolved.”
 protest movement.                                Asia                                        negotiations, with no role for outside
                                                                                                                                            August and September, Aquino said          waters. Aquino, the 51-year-old son of         In July, an Australian think tank
    A party backed by red-shirt pro-                                                          parties such as the United States.
 testers won parliamentary elections                                                          Beijing has rejected Manila’s request         he and President Hu Jintao had agreed      two heroes of the country’s democracy       warned that incidents in the sea could
 by a landslide in July. Their leader,                                                        for United Nations’ arbitration, and          on the need for a binding code of con-     movement, said joint development was        lead to war in Asia.
 Prime         Minister        Yingluck
                                          Wary welcome for openness pledge:                   Aquino said the government was look-          duct.                                      fine, but couldn’t happen until owner-         US Secretary of State Hillary
                                          Malaysia’s government must flesh out its                                                             There is currently an informal code,    ship was determined.                        Clinton has said Washington remains
 Shinawatra, is the sister of deposed     plan to overhaul oppressive security laws           ing at other options.
 premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the          before a victory for human rights can be               Manila and Hanoi protested against         signed in 2002 by China and the               “For instance, there will be royalties   committed to the defence of the
 figurehead of the red-shirt protest      declared, opposition figures and activists          aggressive action by China in the             Association of Southeast Asian             due if there is exploitation of resources   Philippines, but it did not takes sides in
 movement.                                said Friday.                                        South China Sea earlier this year,            Nations (ASEAN), but it is non-bind-       there; who actually will be profiting       the territorial dispute.
    Yingluck’s government has ush-           Ahead of expected elections, Prime
 ered in a series of changes to senior    Minister Najib Razak said Thursday he
 positions in several ministries and      would repeal a law allowing detention           ly cautious” about causing further politi-      users in army-dominated Myanmar on              Foreign media including the Burmese-       denly freely available online.
 key institutions, including plans to     without trial, which campaigners said was       cal splits. (AFP)                               Friday said they were able to see banned     language version of the BBC, which the           “There are many government staff see-
 change the chief of Bangkok’s            a potential watershed validating decades                                                        media websites for the first time this       regime until recently accused of “killer      ing these banned websites at our office,”
 police. The red shirts, whose votes      of campaigning for civil liberties.                           ❑     ❑        ❑
                                             Amnesty International called it a “signif-                                                   week, but doubts remained whether the        broadcasts” and “sowing hatred” in daily      one government official said.
 were crucial in her election victory,                                                    Myanmar gets first look: Internet               move would last.                             state newspaper proclamations, were sud-         Exiled media organisations like the
 have long demanded a full investi-       icant step forward for human rights” in the
                                          Muslim-majority country, while the Human                                                                                                                                                   Irrawaddy and Democratic Voice of
 gation into the deaths.                                                                                                                                                                                                             Burma, whose reporters face long prison
    Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm         Rights Commission of Malaysia praised
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     sentences for working in the country,
 Yoobamrung told reporters on             Najib’s “historic and bold decision”.
                                             But with memories still fresh of a crack-
                                                                                                                                                                                          Women bring peace                          were also unblocked, as well as regional
 Friday that the deaths of the 13                                                                                                                                                                                                    publications the Bangkok Post and
 were “unnatural” and that it was         down on a July rally for electoral reform,
 unclear whether troops were
                                          government opponents demanded clarity
                                          on two new laws the premier said would
                                                                                                                                                                                         ‘Sex strike’ in Dalo                        Singapore’s Straits Times, checks by AFP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     confirmed.
 involved.                                replace the draconian Internal Security Act                                                                                                    MANILA, Sept 16, (AFP): Women                  But Myanmar’s rulers have a history of
    “I want this to be very straight-     (ISA) and other legislation. (AFP)                                                                                                             in the southern Philippines brought         interfering in the Internet and Burmese
 forward and everything is done                                                                                                                                                          peace to their strife-torn village by       netizens, accustomed to using proxy
                                                       ❑       ❑        ❑                                                                                                                threatening to withhold sex if their        servers to skirt website bans, are likely to
 under the rules of law,” Charlerm
 said.                                    ‘Review political trials’: Thailand                                                                                                            men kept fighting, the UN refugee           remain wary. (AFP)
                                          should halt and review all trials connected                                                                                                    agency reported Friday.                                  ❑        ❑       ❑
    Muramoto was based in Tokyo                                                                                                                                                              The “sex strike” in rural Dado
 and had come to Bangkok to help          to political conflict before and after a
                                          2006 coup that opened deep divisions in                                                                                                        village on the often lawless south-         Reporter given 10 more yrs: A
 cover the anti-government red shirt                                                                                                                                                     ern island of Mindanao in July              Myanmar journalist jailed over his work
 protests from March to mid-May           the country, an independent commission
                                                                                                                                                                                         helped end tensions and bring               for an exiled media organisation now
 last year. A total 91 people were        recommended Friday.                                                                                                                            some prosperity to the 102 fami-
                                             The Truth for Reconciliation                                                                                                                                                            faces 18 years in prison after a court
 killed during the unrest, including                                                                                                                                                     lies living there, said UNHCR               added a decade to his sentence, his legal
 an Italian photojournalist and sev-      Commission of Thailand, which was set                                                                                                          national officer Rico Salcedo.
                                          up by the last government in 2010 after                                                                                                                                                    advisor said Friday.
 eral medical workers.                                                                                                                                                                       “The area is in a town which is            Sithu Zeya was given eight years in
                                          the worst political violence in decades,                                                                                                       subject to conflict, family feuds,
    The DSI has identified the cases      urged the country to delay trials and tem-                                                                                                                                                 December following his arrest for filming
 of Muramoto and 12 other civilians,                                                                                                                                                     land disputes. The idea came per-           at the scene of deadly bombings in April
                                          porarily release political defendants.                                                                                                         sonally from the women,” Salcedo
 killed over the course of the unrest,       It also said the use of controversial leg-                                                                                                                                              2010 during water-throwing festivities to
                                                                                                                                                                                         told AFP.                                   mark the Buddhist New Year in Yangon.
 for its initial investigation.           islation banning criticism of the monarchy                                                                                                         The idea was conceived by a
    Then Prime Minister Abhisit           has been “directly related to political con-                                                                                                   group of women who had set up a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The reporter for Democratic Voice of
 Vejjajiva, whose government was          flict” since before the coup.                                                                                                                  sewing business but found that              Burma (DVB), which uses the country’s
 backed by senior generals and the           In its first report to Thailand’s new                                                                                                       they could not deliver their prod-          former name, has now received another
 royalist establishment, repeatedly       leadership, which is allied to former prime     A Malaysian woman in a traditional outfit performs to the 1 Malaysia theme                     ucts because the village road was           10 years under communication laws that
 blamed the black-clad gunmen for         minister Thaksin Shinawatra, deposed            song during the Malaysia Day and Independence Day parade in Kuala                              closed by the threat of violence,           campaigners say are some of the world’s
 civilian deaths.                         by the army five years ago, the commis-         Lumpur, Sept 16. Malaysia is celebrating its 54th independence day with the                    Salcedo said.                               harshest, raising doubts over reform
                                          sion said the government should be “high-            theme ‘1 Malaysia transformation, success, people peace.’ (AFP)                                                                       pledges by the regime. (AFP)

				
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